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Thread: Bull From A Bulldog: The Part Time Solution

  1. #1

    Bull From A Bulldog: The Part Time Solution

    I didnít originally plan this to be two separate columns, but it grew enough to justify it. At the end of the first column, things were pretty inconclusive. I needed a tie-breaker to drive the conclusion one way or the other. Fortunately, there are a couple more part timers I included in my initial drafts. People who I felt were the perfect tie-breakers. One is obvious. The first however, is someone none of you asked about in the comments.

    Here he isÖ

    Chris Jericho
    Rock Star. TV Presenter. Author. Jericho is the guy who has done it all. I thought heíd done more acting than he has, but I checked Wikipedia and to be honest itís barely worth mentioning. Iíd bet it will happen in the future though. Fozzy have a solid growing fanbase and have grown from a tongue-in-cheek side project to a genuinely credible band. Heís done Dancing with The Stars. Heís presented game shows. Basically put, you name it, heís done it.

    Maybe he isnít exactly The Rock (who I deliberately missed from this column as noted in my feedback to the first part), but I think itís safe to say Jericho has built a decent fan base outside WWE and probably brings some of them with him each time he comes back.

    But itís his comebacks that separate him from the other part timers I discussed. He doesnít come back for Wrestlemania. He comes back because he wants to come back. He also doesnít come back and hog the main event limelight. He works mid-card programmes with the guys who are on the verge of breaking in to the main event. He gets them ready for their future.

    Conclusion = Hugely positive.
    How great would it be if more people were put in this sort of position? OK, so not everybody wants to be an actor, a rock star, or a presenter, or all those other things, But Iím pretty sure everyone on the roster would love to branch out and prepare for their inevitable wrestling retirement.

    Iím not talking about getting starring roles in WWE produced low budget films. Iím talking about WWE actively helping their roster get roles on genuine TV shows and movies. Get rid of the pointless WWE Movies that nobody cares about, and create a new department Ė WWE Talent Agency. Having the wrestlers playing lesser characters on a major hit movie or TV show that gets millions of viewers around the world would create far more opportunity for cross promotion than having them star in the movies the WWE currently produce.

    It doesnít necessarily have to be acting. Jericho has proven itís possible to be in a serious rock band and still be active as a wrestler. Surely there are other guys on the roster that could do this?

    There are always reality shows on the go. Get them involved, just like Jericho went on Dancing with the Stars. Not only does this get the roster known outside the WWE Universe, it would give us, the wrestling fans, a new way to really get to know our favourite wrestlers.

    The trouble is, wrestlers seem to always get treated as just that Ė wrestlers. The truth is the majority of them are actually extremely good entertainers generally and would have a lot to offer the entertainment industry as a whole.

    To illustrate the point slightly further, itís time to discuss one last part timer, one who got mentioned in a few of the comments about the first part of this column.

    John Cena
    Throughout a the majority of his wrestling career, Cena has been a good example of the model I outlined above. WWE have always allowed him to pursue other interests, heís become a bigger name outside the industry as a result. Heís been regularly involved in other projects since 2005 when he released his album which fitted his gimmick at the time perfectly. I donít know enough about the rap scene to know how seriously it was taken, but according to Wikipedia it went platinum so I guess it was fairly popular.

    Since then heís done his fair share of acting. OK, so his first couple of movies were produced by WWE, but heís moved on from them and has done a lot of work completely outside the WWE. People may consider him to be a part timer now, but how is that any different from when he took time off to make movies 10 years ago? It started in 2006Ö. We didnít consider him a part timer then, so whatís the difference now?

    I believe the difference is our perspective. Back in 2006, we saw his time off for other projects as something he deserved. We were pleased for him. Today though, we seem to focus on that time off as being him setting himself up to move on from WWE, whereas the time he spends back in the WWE we feel heís taking the spotlight from someone more deserving. Give it a couple more years, when heís disappeared completely and weíll be chanting for him to come back for One More Match.

    Are we being fair? From his initial role in The Marine in 2006 itís safe to say heís been working to ensure he has a career beyond WWE. Consider his position. Heíd been the WWEís main man for around a year by that point. Heíd seen The Rock retire and go on to become a big star. He would also have seen The Rockís run at the top of the WWE and realised itís a position without much longevity. Rock & Austin arguably shared the spotlight for around 5 years. Hoganís run at the top wasnít much longer. HBK? Bret Hart? Diesel? Little more than a flash in the pan.

    Looking back over WWE history, 5 years is actually a good run at the top and a changing decade has often signalled a changing of the guard. In 2006, Cena must have figured that he had maybe 5 years at most to earn a career outside WWE. As it turned out, heís outlasted any other main eventer in WWE history (certainly during the Wrestlemania era). If he wasnít bringing fans to the business thereís no way heíd have lasted so long.

    Conclusion = Positive
    While we only consider Cena to have been part timer for the past couple of years, itís actually been the case well over a decade. We just didnít notice it because back then, part timers werenít seen as the issue we have come to consider them to be.

    Overall Conclusion.

    For me, the only real difference between Jericho and Cena is the timing of their move to being part time. Jericho mostly worked a full time career before retiring to focus on other projects, with occasional comebacks to wrestling. Cena has always worked a part time schedule taking time out from wrestling occasionally to pursue his other interests.

    For me, Cena should be The Prototype, but in the Jericho position on the card. Give wrestlers time off to further their skills elsewhere throughout their career, don't wait for them to be main eventers. This also has the added benefit of giving the Creative department time off from writing for that wrestler, meaning they can come back to fresh storylines. As more wrestlers become known in the mainstream entertainment industry, more fans from elsewhere will come with them each time they return. Itís a scenario where everyone wins.

    The main purpose of these two columns has been to determine what the best thing is that WWE could do to resolve the issues caused by part time wrestlers in recent years.

    The solution?

    They could create more part timers.

  2. #2
    Broken Kleck Kleckamania's Avatar
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    Sep 2013
    Really nice way to tie it all together at the end there.

    There was a discussion in one of the WWE threads where we were talking about if they really wanted to build Braun to legendary levels, they could start showing repercussions for big bumps (guys going out for a few months if he slams them off the stage for example, making those big bumps more meaningful) and WWE has such a huge roster filled with studs that it would be effortless to do so. It would build more star power and kind of create a competitive atmosphere like in the Atitude Era, where there were like 6-8 legit top guys.

    I do think leaving Rock out would be distracting to an average reader, though I went back and saw your comment to Sam on the first column and I get why you did. He draws in viewers but he kind of hurts the roster though imo, as when he comes back he always makes one of the active guys look pathetic. I still remember what he did to Rusev. Rusev was white hot and unbeatable at the time, and on a whim in Brooklyn Rock came out and made him look pathetic. They put a ceiling on Rusev that night, and hurt his credibility going forward imo. And of course now that he has gained it back and is hugely popular WWE just ignores it lol. *sighs*

    I do think it is a good idea to cycle guys out and give them chances to build a name in the entertainment world outside of WWE, but I think Vince would be too anxious about certain guys not coming back if they hit big (like Roman), so Im not sure if we would see that happen more. Plus once they hit big somewhere else, a bigger ego might come back with them. It's a tricky spot, but more namesake to bring eyes to the product never hurts, and if they booked like in Attitude, there would be plenty of guys to plug in.

    Interesting two parter. Well done.

  3. #3
    The Brain
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Strong conclusion to the points you began making last time. I definitely agree with the core of what you're saying. The best "part timer" is one that actually puts in the work in when they can. I much prefer the likes of Jericho and Cena to the Lesnars/Takers/HHHs of the business at this point. Back in the 2000s, HBK and Taker would work maybe 6 months out of the year, and it was all to the benefit, and guys like Foley would come in when they could and mix it up with young stars with the explicit purpose of making them bigger stars. These are the types wrestling needs, ones in the vein of the great Terry Funk. I'm also all in favor of regular guys having the option to take more time off the road, considering how bloated the roster is this should be easier than ever.

    As to the specifics, I admit I haven't really loved Jericho's mini-runs in recent years. I was an absolutely enormous Jericho fan during his 2008-2010 run, and when he first came back to feud with Punk I was excited, but that quickly devolved into silliness and nonsense. Since then, a lot of his time has been spent doing stuff like feuding heatlessly with Fandango or trying to match guys like Neville and AJ athletically when he should have been dialing it back and focusing on character work. The stuff with the List was a saving grace, but in some ways it was the only true bright spot in a number of years for the guy. So, his value is more mixed to me, though I like schedule I'm not sure about the impact he's had, as he's a lazy out for WWE to use rather than put the work in to elevate someone fresher.

    Cena is a weird one, I hadn't even thought about his status much as a part timer because he's SO involved when he's around. Like you say, he's taken breaks before to do other projects, though not typically as long as the ones he takes now. I think the value in Cena is very obvious though, and though I'm not his biggest fan ever I think it's very fair to count him as a positive.

    Nice stuff DB, enjoyed this.

  4. #4
    Time for some feedback....

    Faking injuries is always a good way to get people off TV for a while as well as building up the guy who caused the injury - but only if it's something that's sparingly used. I suspect if they made it a regular thing with someone like Strowman, the political correct side of WWE would take over and they'd come up with a storyline whereby he had to not injure people and it would actually end up weakening him!

    I'm not going to disagree that The Rock makes everyone else look bad when he comes back, but even so generally speaking I think the publicity he brings is worth it. And if you're talking about him ripping the current roster to pieces on the mic, I don't think that can be avoided. Rock is probably the best talker of all time.

    As for the guys who they may be afraid to lose, I guess that is a risk but that's why long term contracts exist. Using Roman as an example, don't you think Vince would be smart enough to sign him to at least a 10 year contract? That 10 years doesn't just cover their time as a wrestler, but in the scenario suggested it also covers their time being managed by the WWE Talent Agency. Sure, maybe they become a big star & do more movies, but they're still contracted to come back for a certain percentage of the time and WWE are still getting an income from them.

    Totally agree, as the column evolved the Jericho & Cena model of being a part timer definitely split from the others. Whilst you may not have enjoyed some of Jericho's comebacks, you really have to put most of the blame for that on the creative department rather than Jericho himself.

    As for Cena, yes his breaks may be longer these days but to me he's earned every day off he gets. I remember several years ago when he was asked about his acting career and if he's ever going to leave like The Rock did, he said he'd be the first to work two full time jobs. So far, he's been true to his word. And that's not counting all the promotional work he does and all the Make A Wish appearances (I think he holds the record for the most ever?). The man is a machine.

    If anything, the one thing stopping my column The Legend Returns coming true is the fact Cena may never reach the point of not appearing for several years!

  5. #5
    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    Aug 2017
    Newcastle, Australia
    Agree with Kleck and Mizfan, strong conclusion here Dynamite, these guys still respect the game and when they are in they are all in.............. except Cena recently, who to me has been verging on the negative, he brings viewers and money but I don't care about the business side, I care about the in ring product which this year post Wrestlemania hs has largely dragged down with his involvement. SummerSlam was an absolute bust for him, terrible conduct, absolutely ruining someone very publicaly, I'll give him a pass for the Reigns stuff although ultimately I didn't find it as interesting as some and wished it had been more about the character of the guy who is all about respect v the arrogant entitled chosen one. The Survivor Series stuff was even worse as he added absolutely nothing and just soaked up a position someone else could have been in.

    Anyway that rant out of the way I think what you have said about Jericho adds to the idea that there should either be an off season or some sliding leave schedule for wrestlers that does give them a chance to get out and do something different if they want. Anyway, that is a thought I've had for a long time and a column I'll probably write down the line.

  6. #6
    Sam!! Good to see you

    Got to question your comment there, it seems to contradict itself somewhat. You don't care about the business side, your'e all about the in ring product? Surely then, Cena winning in the ring should be what you expect to have seen at Summerslam? Any pre-match statistical analysis of Cena v Corbin would come out with Cena winning. Isn't looking at it as a burial of Corbin seeing things from the business point of view, which should attempt to build stars for the future?

    Regarding Survivor Series, despite being the biggest name in the match he wasn't particularly central to the story told during the match so yes, someone else could have had that spot. Again though, isn't that looking at things from the business perspective? From an in-ring perspective, having the biggest star on your team gives you the biggest chance of winning. However from a business perspective a Survivor Series main event sells itself, therefore placing the biggest star in another match is a business decision to add an extra selling point.

    I guess I'm 50% questioning your logic, 50% playing devils advocate here, so feel free to discuss further

    For your final point, I don't think an off season is necessary, but the leave schedule is vital for the health of the entire roster. Use of an off season would remove the opportunity for upper mid-carders to get into the main event whilst the recognised main eventers are taking their time out. If everyone is off at the same time, there is less movement up and down the card and you don't get the return pop for someone who's been away. Also, if my idea of the WWE talent agency was put into place the market would be flooded with wrestlers looking for work all at once!

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2014
    I really liked this DB, and I thought your response to Sam was almost as thought provoking as the column itself because I found myself nodding along with his thoughts on Cena. But reading your response, I also found myself nodding along and agreeing. I do love the idea of some of our favorites going away from time to time to work on other projects only to come back. I think the real fear for WWE is that by having something like a Talent Agency, they're going to send someone off to do a project and then lose them to that project. Look at Jericho as an example, Fozzy was once Fozzy Osbourne, he was Moongoose McQueen, it was just a lark that WWE actually played up on their programming...but that lark grew into something more substantial which actually became his main focus. I think they'd fear losing their top talent to other projects that could be more lucrative and less physically demanding.

    This was top stuff, really liked it.
    Read my latest. That's not a request.


  8. #8
    Thanks for the read & feed Ray - presume you checked out the first column as well?
    Of course there's a risk that some may progress to other careers, but as I said in my feedback to Kleck - WWE is still getting income through them via their talent agency, and that long term contract is bound to include a minimum number of appearances. Also consider that most of the roster get into wrestling because it's what they want to do above all else. Anything else will feel like a step away from what they love. In addition, it's likely that in this model the ones who would be more desirable to other entertainment industries would be those who have been around long enough to be known, much like Jericho was they are likely to be reaching a point where they need to start preparing for wrestling retirement.

    Now we just need to wait & see what Sam thinks of my rebuttal!

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2014
    My other concern with the "talent agency" is that the wrestlers are theoretically "independent contractors". Are wrestlers then required at signing with WWE to also sign with their talent agency? Are they required to take gigs presented by the talent agency? I mean theoretically a lower tier performer like Heath Slater could be forced to go shoot an episode of some shitty TV show that would pay him very little over WrestleMania season where his payoff could be larger. WWE wouldn't miss Slater at WM season, but Slater might miss the payoff. I'm not against the agency idea, moreso curious what the logistics would be in your mind?
    Read my latest. That's not a request.


  10. #10
    Specific logistics I haven't really considered, but essentially I'd assume that all actors with any other talent agency would be independent contractors as well so that wouldn't be much difference. WWE would also know when they do/don't need the full roster available so could plan each guy's time off accordingly.

    And who Heath Slater in an acting role may be the very role that gets him enough mainstream exposure to finally work his way up the ladder in WWE as well? Sometimes the shitty shows take off and gain cult followings.

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